Desert Island Bliss

Depending on the year in which you were born, if I mention a desert island you might think of… a TV dating show ‘Love Island’ (which I have never watched); or ‘Cast Away’ – the film starring Tom Hanks, about a FedEx executive who undergoes a physical and emotional transformation after crash landing on a remote island; or ‘Desert Island Discs’ – a radio programme first broadcast in 1942 which requires a guest to choose 8 tracks of music, a book and a luxury to take with them if stranded on a desert island; or ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – the classic book, authored by Daniel Defoe, about a ship-wrecked castaway, marooned on a far-off island. 

First and foremost, in my mind, would be the quintessential Robinson Crusoe story, so enjoyed by me when I was very young. In fact, I am considering reading it again, albeit bespectacled and at the other end of the age spectrum. Why? Well, of course it is a classic; has a cracking storyline; but also, by way of the eminent Antipodean preacher and acclaimed essayist Mr F.W.Boreham, I have discovered a subplot which had completely bypassed my first reading of it.

In the preface to the final section Defoe tells his readers that he intended Crusoe to portray his own inner struggle. As Boreham explains in his little book, ‘The Gospel of Robinson Crusoe’ the biggest thing that happened to our hero, Robinson, was his conversion [to Christ].

‘During the twenty-eight years…spent on the island his most distinguished visitor was a text. 

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver Thee and thou shalt glorify Me.”’

Psalm 50:15 KJV

‘On opening a chest saved from the wreck, besides finding his roll of tobacco, he discovered a Bible from whence he plucked that text. ‘Three times that ‘visitor’ came knocking at the door of his hut and at the door of his heart. It came to him as his doctor in the sore days of sickness; it came as his minister when his soul was in darkness and distress; and it came as his deliverer in the hour of his most extreme peril.’

I look forward to meeting Robinson Crusoe anew, through my own eyes, now as a believer, and discovering other treasures beneath the main storyline that have lain undiscovered until I came across Mr. Boreham and his little gem of a book.